I’m very excited to introduce you all to the next guest designer in our Becoming a Designer series. I stumbled upon Jen’s blog a few months ago and i was immediately in love. Completely hooked. It’s incredibly rare that i come across a clothing line which leaves me wanting every piece – and yet that’s exactly how i felt after perusing the pieces in Jen’s line, Hound. Jen is a complete sweetheart and incredibly talented and skilled. This girl really knows her stuff. I’m so excited to have her as this months Featured Independent Designer (you see that button on my blog sidebar?? click it, you will love her store i promise). Anyway, without further ado, Jen has kindly agreed to share with us the story of how she became a designer. I hope you enjoy it!! Once you’re done reading it I encourage you to check out her gorgeous clothing line, her wonderful sewing patterns and the array of incredibly good sewing tutorials on her blog
Hi everyone! I’m excited to be featured as an Independent Designer here on Megan’s blog, thanks Megan! I’m going to tell you a bit about my path to becoming a designer and about my line, Hound.
I did go to school for fashion design though it was not my first career path. I originally got a degree in photography and had to go back to school for fashion design. I spent most of my time in school focusing on the technical areas of design since I knew with all the student loans I had amassed getting two degrees nobody in their right mind was going to give me a business loan to hire the various technicians I might need. About 6 months before graduation I got my first job as a patternmaker which was super helpful not only because it was a job in the industry but also because I was able to put my production patternmaking into practice and learn new things which I could apply to my line. Yes!! While I do love patternmaking, it gets tedious making patterns for someone else exclusively, so on a whim a few months after graduation I decided that I would start a small line, just to give myself something to do. I hired a friend as my fit model and got down to business making patterns, doing fittings etc. and finally Hound was born!
With Hound I try to always adhere to a few principals, clean lines, classic, fun, and I’ve never been know to shy away from color either. Each season has a new inspiration and I like to carry over successful design elements of past collections so that each collection flows into the next, building on the most popular pieces. I think my favorite part of the having my own line and the design process is how you can pull together seeming unrelated sources that inspire you into one cohesive idea. That and setting my own schedule to a degree.
While there are so many fun and rewarding parts to having your own fashion line, it’s also really rewarding. Like a lot of small indepandant designers, at the moment I am my own patternmaker, cutter, production line, marketer, accountant, etc. Last season was the first season I actually hired someone, a friend who is an amazing printmaker / textile designer and it was such a positive experience that we’re currently working on prints for the upcoming year. I really look forward to being able to get an intern and a larger studio space, working alone constantly is for the birds!
My advice to anyone looking to start their own line would be to do the really boring stuff first. Make a business plan, figure out your target customer, maybe take a business class. Though mind numbing at times, these things will help you really discover what kind designer you want to be, who you want to serve and how to go about it. After that, work hard and stay positive!